Hostage's family 'devastated' by fatal American airstrike
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The family of slain American aid worker Warren Weinstein is "devastated" by news Thursday that he was killed in a U.S. counterterrorism strike, and disappointed by the White House's actions.

"We were so hopeful that those in the U.S. and Pakistani governments with the power to take action and secure his release would have done everything possible to do so and there are no words to do justice to the disappointment and heartbreak we are going through," Elaine Weinstein, his wife, said in a statement.


The family of Weinstein, who had a home in Maryland, thanked their representative, Rep. John Delaney (D), and Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, as well as members of the FBI, for their efforts to rescue him.

“Unfortunately, the assistance we received from other elements of the U.S. Government was inconsistent and disappointing over the course of three and a half years," Elaine Weinstein said.

"We hope that my husband’s death and the others who have faced similar tragedies in recent months will finally prompt the U.S. Government to take its responsibilities seriously and establish a coordinated and consistent approach to supporting hostages and their families," she added.

Obama, who said he spoke with her and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi the previous day, acknowledged earlier Thursday that the United States had killed Weinstein and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto, who had been held hostage by al Qaeda since 2011 and 2012, respectively. Another American, al Qaeda leader Ahmed Farouq, was also killed.

"No words can fully express our regret over this terrible tragedy," Obama said during a news briefing at the White House, expressing his condolences to the families of the two hostages and taking responsibility for the apparently inadvertent killings.

"The operation targeted an al-Qa’ida-associated compound, where we had no reason to believe either hostage was present, located in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement before Obama's remarks.

A third American, Adam Gadahn, who became a prominent al Qaeda member, was killed in January in a separate counterterrorism operation, Earnest said, noting that neither member of the militant group was known to be in the compound, nor was either of them being targeted.

Obama also said the U.S. would conduct an investigation into the deaths, saying an initial assessment indicated the operation followed counterterrorism guidelines.

Weinstein's family praised the review, but said regardless that his captors "bear ultimate responsibility."

“The cowardly actions of those who took Warren captive and ultimately to the place and time of his death are not in keeping with Islam and they will have to face their God to answer for their actions,” Elaine Weinstein said.

Weinstein, 73, was taken captive in August of 2011 near his home in Lahore, Pakistan, just days days before his seven-year contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was set to end, according to NBC News.

"Many within our government spent years attempting to locate and free Dr. Weinstein and Mr. Lo Porto. The pain of their deaths will remain with us as we rededicate ourselves to adhering to the most exacting standards in doing all we can to protect the American people," Earnest said.  

Warren is survived by two daughters, a son-in-law and two grandchildren.